In February I was seriously considering dropping out of University. Whilst I was excelling in all extra-curricular activities I felt I was drowning in a never ending cycle of coursework and exams. For me I like to know I’ve tried my best, but worry that my best isn’t good enough which meant that even over the Christmas break I’d done university related work everyday apart from my birthday, Christmas Day and New Years day. By doing this I’d burnt myself out and the thought of completing the year just to be rewarded with another year was too much.
I decided something had to change and I powered on through submitting coursework, revising for that exam, doing my reading and hoping that I would start to feel different. I am so glad I did, I have now completed second year and I am only waiting for one result back from my geopolitics exam but other than that I achieved some pretty good grades this year that I should be proud of in relation to how deflated I was feeling.
I am now dreading doing my dissertation and I am really really struggling to stay motivated to get it done over the summer break, however I have taken a few weeks off, been on holiday, relaxed and put things into perspective. I am going to make a plan of action that is sustainable for my dissertation and will hopefully get as much done before 3rd year starts as possible. For me the thought of giving up now so close to finishing would be a real shame.
I just want people to know that feeling deflated and burnt out is something natural for students to feel and you aren’t on your own. I feel like I manage to create a front for myself where I look like everything is in control and I’m on a roll when really I’m not at all I just don’t want people to know that. Remember you are only in competition with your past self, and you should only compare your successes with your experiences and put everything into context. Always look at the bigger picture and include small wins from outside of your studies into that picture. It’s okay to feel like everything isn’t okay and its perfectly fine to say ‘I need help’. Contact your personal tutor, your favourite lecturer, accessibility, student services, YOUR FRIENDS. I have been so very lucky to live with the most understanding people and also have the best course friends a girl could ask for, they have been there for me in ways I’d have never imagined and the only thing keeping me going right now is knowing I get to graduate with them this time next year.
So this has been a bit of a sad post but the main thing is to not give up, but allow yourself to feel that way. Let yourself cry, be a bit stressed, sleep for a whole day, get a huge takeaway… but the key is to get your bum out of bed the next day, open your curtains, make your bed, get a shower and then sit down and bit by bit work out a way that is BEST FOR YOU to ensure you can keep going and get the degree that you deserve.